Here, we describe a molecular switch associated with opioid receptors-linked signalling cascades that provides a dual opioid control over P2X3 purinoceptor in sensory neurones. Leu-enkephalin inhibited P2X3-mediated currents with IC50 ~10 nM in ~25 % of small nociceptive rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurones. In contrast, in neurones pretreated with pertussis toxin leu-enkephalin produced stable and significant increase of P2X3 currents. All effects of opioid were abolished by selective μ-opioid receptor antagonist D-Phe-Cys-Tyr-D-Trp-Orn-Thr-Pen-Thr-NH2 (CTOP), nonselective inhibitor naloxone, and by PLC inhibitor U73122. Thus, we discovered a dual link between purinoceptors and μ-opioid receptors: the latter exert both inhibitory (pertussis toxin-sensitive) and stimulatory (pertussis toxin-insensitive) actions on P2X3 receptors through phospholipase C (PLC)-dependent pathways. This dual opioid control of P2X3 receptors may provide a molecular explanation for dichotomy of opioid therapy. Pharmacological control of this newly identified facilitation/inhibition switch may open new perspectives for the adequate medical use of opioids, the most powerful pain-killing agents known today.
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© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
- Nociceptive neurones
- Opioid receptors
- P2X receptors
- Sensory neurones